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Algeria Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned in April 2019, after Algeria's largest nationwide protests in more than 20 years calling for wholesale change in government. The army chief of staff, General Ahmed Gaid Salah, has insisted on organising elections on 12 December. Protesters are highly likely to boycott elections, and a peaceful transition is highly unlikely if the elections are maintained under the current political system. Largely peaceful protests are likely to gather large crowds of up to millions on 1 November, a symbolic day which commemorates the beginning of Algeria's war of independence. Aside from Salah, the army's leadership has to date refrained from making public comment, instead focusing on its main duty of border security. Although unlikely, an army intervention to support the elite would risk damaging its reputation as guarantor of an independent and 'revolutionary' Algeria. This would increase the likelihood of security forces and other state institutions fragmenting between supporting the elite and the opposition.Algeria's security forces' operations have effectively contained the domestic jihadist threat, reducing the likelihood of a successful attack in a major city, but the risk of transnational jihadist penetration from Libya, Mali, and Tunisia remains high, particularly targeting strategic assets and security forces using IEDs and small-arms. Algeria experienced economic slowdown during 2018 (with GDP growth estimated at 1.1%), before recovering to a forecast 1.7% growth level in 2019. The Central Bank of Algeria will likely continue financing its fiscal deficit (of about 10% of GDP in 2019) unconventionally by printing money. So far, the government has avoided inflationary consequences by increasing minimum mandatory financial-sector reserves requirements to drain banking liquidity, but this approach is unlikely to prove sustainable. For 2020, we expect post-electoral fiscal austerity, together with softer global conditions, to slow Algeria's economy. The economic outlook is also subject to the electoral process and policy stance of the new president.
Last update: October 25, 2019

Operational Outlook

Although legal barriers to non-hydrocarbon investment are likely to be reduced gradually in the next two years in an attempt to attract FDI, the state will maintain control over strategic sectors such as energy, automotive, and steel. Foreign investments are at risk of expropriation in the event of disputes with the government, or if they fail to perform to expectations. Administrative inefficiency, corruption, and an overburdened legal system continue to pose obstacles for business. Anti-government protests are likely to cause business and traffic disruption, especially on Fridays, across Algeria.

Last update: November 15, 2019

Terrorism

High

Escalation of domestic civil unrest would require the allocation of security force personnel and other resources to major cities, but is unlikely to critically deplete resources along Algeria’s borders or in militant hotspots. Troop deployments to the eastern and southern borders with Tunisia, Libya, and Mali remain in place, mitigating the risk of jihadist incursions. Given the distances involved, this is, however, insufficient to prevent all infiltration. The Algerian army (APN) regularly discovers arms and ammunition caches, most commonly IEDs and small-arms. Jihadist groups lack the capability and willingness to undertake a major attack in large urban centres, instead focusing on localised attacks targeting security forces, and isolated kidnap for ransom.

Last update: November 8, 2019

Crime

The majority of crimes tend to be committed by individuals or small numbers of low-capability and poorly organised criminal groups. These do not exert significant influence over local authorities or public institutions, nor do they pose an extortion risk to businesses. Petty crime usually occurs in poorer urban areas, away from business and leisure areas frequented by expatriates, which enjoy higher security presence, including police checkpoints. The most serious criminality comes from jihadist-related criminality to finance their activities, such as illegal narcotics, and weapons and human trafficking, particularly along the southern borders. The risk from violent crime is moderate.

Last update: November 12, 2019

War Risks

Algeria has long placed high emphasis on securing its more than 6,000-km border areas, particularly against jihadist penetration from Libya, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, and this is likely to reinforce it during the ongoing anti-government protests. Algeria's established military doctrine excludes deployment on operations outside Algeria and gives primacy to enhancing frontier security. Consequently, regional security co-operation remains weak, although Algeria has stepped up security co-operation with neighbouring states; for instance, jointly co-ordinating intelligence collection with Tunisian forces in the border area, which was reinforced since 2017. On the Libyan side, co-operation is problematic, given the prevalence of competing militias there and the absence of any effective state military forces.

Last update: November 8, 2019

Social Stability

Very high

Algeria's largest protests in 20 years began in February 2019, in response to the planned presidential election in which then-president Abdelaziz Bouteflika was to stand for a fifth term. The protests, drawing on participants from across a wide spectrum from society, led to Bouteflika resigning on 2 April. Although protests have occurred on a weekly basis since February, attracting thousands across Algeria, the announcement of presidential candidates on 27 October, coinciding with the commemoration of the beginning of Algeria's independence war on 1 November, will likely trigger larger protests. Up to several million could protest in Algiers to pressure the government to cancel the polls.

Last update: November 2, 2019

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

Yellow fever: There is no risk of contracting yellow fever in Algeria. However, the government of Algeria requires proof of vaccination for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease.

Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).

Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers

Malaria: There is a low risk of contracting malaria. As such, doctors usually advise travelers to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites rather than prescribing antimalarial medications.

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Severe

Algeria is highly vulnerable to floods. In 2001, flooding in the Algiers neighborhood of Bab El Oued left nearly 1000 people dead and caused major damage.

Earthquakes sometimes strike in the north of the country. On May 21, 2003, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7 on the Richter scale left 2200 dead and 15,000 homeless in Boumerdès. Less violent earthquakes occur regularly. To learn more about what to do before, during, and after an earthquake, see this advice from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Snowfall may occur in the winter and can cause widespread transportation disruptions.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Elevated

Algeria suffers from a high number of road-related fatalities due to poor road conditions and driving habits. Despite an improvement in road security measures over the past few years, the number of incidents remains high. The Ministry of the Interior reported that approximately 12 people die per day in traffic incidents, a rate of approximately 4380 deaths per year.

Travel by road outside of cities is not advised. If traveling by car is unavoidable, do so in a convoy of several vehicles equipped with emergency communication devices (e.g. satellite telephones). Roadside ambushes are infrequent but at least four separate incidents occurred in 2016, leaving several Algerian citizens dead. In all cases, it is preferable to travel with a local.

Military and police checkpoints are common on major roads within large cities and throughout the countryside. Security personnel at these checkpoints expect full cooperation. For these and other reasons, air travel is preferred inside the country.

If taking a taxi, ask your hotel to recommend a reliable company and do not allow other unknown passengers to join you during the journey. Arrange for the driver to collect you for the return journey as taxis are not widely available, particularly after dark.

Travel by train is possible between Algiers and Oran but is not recommended.

The SNCM ferry company (La Société Nationale Corse Méditerranée) serves both Algiers and Skikda from Marseille, and Oran from Alicante (Spain). The ferry transports both cars and people. It is advised to arrange for your pick up from the port of arrival in advance.  

Algiers-Houari Boumediene International Airport (ALG) is located in the southeast of the capital and adheres to international air safety standards. While security measures are not on par with those of US airports, security personnel are present throughout the airport. The government has recently taken steps to improve airport security.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

The north of the country, including along the coastline and the Tell Atlas mountain chain, has a Mediterranean climate (hot and dry summers, cool and wet winters). The high plateau regions in the center of the country are semi-arid while the area south of the Saharan Atlas chain is desert.

Temperatures can vary significantly within a single day, particularly in the Sahara Desert where temperatures can fluctuate between extremes in the space of a few hours (above 40°C during the day and below 5°C at night).

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +213
Police: 21

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019